Another Fonda Story


This has gotta be repeated so I am posting it from A Collection Of Thoughts:

By Jack “Fingers” Ensch, Capt, USN (Ret)

The first American name I heard uttered after I was shot down in August 1972 was that of Jane Fonda. Depressing!

After being turned over to the uniformed military at my shoot down site near Ninh Binh I was thrown in the back of a truck and covered with the”duty tarp” for my transport to the Hilton. Somewhere between Ninh Binh and Hanoi we made a stop in a town where I was dragged out of the truck, taken into a building and made to sit on a stool in the middle of a room with 20-30 people around me. After the requisite amount of “jostling and cuffing about” had taken place, one “gentleman”stepped forward to address me in English. After the obligatory tirade berating me as a “war criminal”, etc., blah, blah, he proudly informed me that Jane Fonda had recently visited his town and had seen the atrocities we were committing against his country. He said she had gone back to America to explain the truth about the war to the American people, blah, blah, — words to that affect. I didn’t exactly commit to memory all the “bullshit” he was spouting because I was pretty well banged up and a real “hurt’in puppy” at the time, with my elbows pushed half way up the inside of both arms, a couple of badly injured shoulders and what was left of my mangled left needing some serious medical attention. I did, however, remember his reference to “Janie Baby” because I had seen the picture of her on the AAA gun before I was shot down. After his little speech, there was a “photo opportunity” with “Mr Big” and the others triumphantly standing over me, the defeated “war criminal.” That was it. I was then thrown back into the truck for the rest of the journey to the Hilton. The delay may have been to give them time to get my room ready, since I didn’t call ahead for reservations.

Now, fast forward to 1998. For the second time in 26 years Jane’s and my path cross.

The Braves were in San Diego for games 3-5 of the NL Championship series against the Padres. My office with the Padres is one of the few still located in Qualcomm Stadium since the stadium seating was expanded and most of the office space converted to sky box suites for the Chargers. So, when one of the Padres staff, who was assisting the Braves staff members while they were in town, was looking for a computer for one of them to use, she stopped by my office to ask if it would be ok to use my office/computer. The young lady from the Braves was with the Padre staffer and I asked her if she needed any special program called up for her to use. She said no, she just had to type up some things for “Miss Fonda” and make up her schedule of events for the next day.

That got my attention. I asked her, “Let me get this straight, you are going to use the computer, not Jane Fonda?” She said, “Oh yes, ‘Miss Fonda’ won’t be down here.” I said, “The reason I ask is that I was POW in Vietnam, so you know what I think of that bitch!” She was taken aback, somewhat confused by my remark and stuttered something like, “oh, well, I ,ah, no, I … .” I continued and said, “If you will assure me that Jane Fonda herself won’t be touching my keyboard and won’t be in this office then you are more than welcome to use it” She said , “Oh, yes, I’ll be the only one using it. I don’t really work for “Miss Fonda”, I work for the Braves and I’m just doing this for her because we are away from Atlanta.” I said, “Well, I just don’t have any respect for her and I wouldn’t want her to set foot in my office.” With that I left to go watch the game.

When I saw the Padres staffer later, I asked how it went with the young Braves staffer because it didn’t appear my office had been used. She said the Braves staffer had decided that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to use my office, so she went across the stadium to the security office and used a computer there.

In retrospect, I may have been too harsh with the young lady from the Braves. She was a nice girl, probably about mid/late twenties and if the truth was known she probably didn’t even know what Jane had “done for her country” during the war. She probably wasn’t even born then and if she’s like most her age she doesn’t even know anything about the war in VN. But, anyway “Traitor Jane” didn’t get any benefit from my computer and in some small way I feel I evened the score a little.

That’s my Jane Fonda story.



Footnote: As a close personal friend of Jack “Fingers” Ensch, I will endorse his recount of events. Jack didn’t tell you all the story. While Jack was going through the standard tortures sessions that we all went through, the guards who were twisting Jack’s arms out of the joints with what we called “the Vietnamese Rope Trick,” became irritated with Jack’s mangled hand and flopping thumb. The guard suddenly grabbed Jack’s hand, held it on the table and cut off Jack’s thumb with his pocket knife…..then the torture continued. Jack was one of our greatest resistors. He never co-operated with the enemy. He had what our greatest resistors, like Jim Stockdale, had… a “Bad Attitude.” Jack retired as a Navy Captain and has earned his endearing nickname, “Fingers,” the hard way…but with Honor.

Mike McGrath, Capt USN, President of NAM-POWs, Inc.

I still stand by my earlier statement, the guy who spit in her face should be getting a medal.

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